24 October 2011
Dam the Politics... Save the Salmon
There are some things in this world that mean more to us than we can explain. We as human beings have an existential connection to all of mother earth's creatures. We are approaching a dark time in the Klamath River, soon there will be no natural born salmon spawning up what was once one of the rivers that spawned the most salmon in the Pacific Northwest. The salmon that at one time flourished in the Klamath, are not able to reach their natural spawning grounds because the natural flow of the river has been altered by the building of dams, which is resulting in many salmon dying without having the chance to spawn. Currently, Klamath River fall chinook runs are less than 8 percent of their historical abundance. For coho salmon the numbers are less than 1 percent (Karuk). It would be a travesty to be a part of the generation that causes one of the most amazing fish in the world to disappear. We must do something to rectify the problem before it is too late. In 1916 PacifiCorp put the first dam in the Klamath in order to provide the public with hydroelectricity (Boxal). When the Copco 1 Dam was constructed on the Klamath River in 1918, it permanently blocked access to more than 350 miles of salmon and steelhead habitat in the main stem of the upper Klamath and its tributaries (Karuk). Since then many more dams have been built in order to keep up with the ever growing need for energy, they have disrupted the flow of the river and in turn, blocked off the path for many salmon to get to their natural spawning grounds. Salmon are very fickle creatures and will only spawn in the exact river that they were born in, so when the salmon can't get to their final spawning destination, they die without reproducing. This has caused less and less salmon to spawn each year. Another factor that has negatively influenced the salmon population has been build up of excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the river. The...
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